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Senate approves $109.3 million in outdoor funds

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news Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

ST. PAUL - Minnesota senators Monday approved spending $109.3 million on a variety of outdoors projects.

The spending follows the 12-member Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council recommendations that include programs such as $4 million to establish an aquatic invasive species research center at the University of Minnesota and $9.7 million for easements and restoration of wetlands with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Ducks Unlimited.

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Another $4.6 million would go to the Department of Natural Resources for competitive grants of up to $400,000 each to smaller organizations for enhancing, restoring or protecting forests, wetlands, prairies and habitats.

ā€œI feel confident this bill takes into consideration the environmental needs of our state," sponsor Sen. Tom Saxhaug, D-Grand Rapids, said. "This is a unique opportunity that our state has to take advantage of this dedicated fund to ensure we are properly preserving and enhancing our stateā€™s natural wonders."

Lessard-Sams money comes from a sales tax increase voters approved in 2008.

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